Resources

Helen and Robert 028Getting Married in Florida

Are you excited about your wedding day in our lovely state?

We are happy that you have chosen to exchange your nuptials in Florida with us and hope that your wedding day turns out to be a beautiful event and provides fond memories for years to come. This may be your first time to Florida or perhaps you are a resident couple but not familiar with the county you are getting married in.

Below I am supplying you with links to wedding resources  to help you as you plan for your Florida Wedding.

If you are planning on getting married in the state of Florida, in a legal ceremony,  you must obtain a marriage license issued in the state of Florida. Vow Renewals and Commitment Ceremonies  are not recognized as legal ceremonies in Florida and do not require a marriage license. Domestic Partnerships can be registered at the clerk’s office, prior to your commitment ceremony if you choose.

If you are having a legal marriage you will need to obtain a marriage license. Currently marriage licenses in Florida cost about $93.50 USD. Make sure you add the cost to your wedding budget. By taking a Pre-Marital Course with an approved course provider, you can save $32 off the cost of the marriage license.

To apply for a Florida marriage license please make sure you have the following

  • Marriage License Application, complete it and bring it with you to apply 
  • If the parties applying for a license have children together that were born in Florida, they must fill out the Affirmation of Children Born in Florida form (DH743A). This form requires notarization, which can be done at the Clerk’s Office for a fee of $7.00
  • Both parties must apply together in person
  • Each party must show a valid driver’s license, a valid state identification card, a valid passport or valid military identification
  • Both parties must provide their Social Security numbers
  • If either party has been previously married, the party must provide the date his or her last marriage ended

Couples are required by law to read the Family Law Handbook supplied by the clerk and sign a statement acknowledging that they have done so before applying for the license

Florida residents

If at least one of you is a Florida resident, you will be subject to a mandatory three day waiting period before you can get married.  That means , say you get your license on Tuesday June 3, 2014 Your license will be valid for you to use to get married on Friday, June 6, 2014. Marriage licenses are good for 60 days from the date they are issued. So that means that on midnight of the 60th day your license to get married in Florida expires. If your license expires, meaning you have not had an authorized official perform your ceremony, you will have to go back to the courts, redo all of the paperwork and repay the license fee of $93.50 to be issued a new license.

Non- Florida residents

If you are a non Florida resident, there is no waiting period before you can get married. That means, once you finish filling out the paperwork at the clerk’s office your marriage license is ready and valid for you to use immediately. The Marriage license is still only good for 60 days from the date they are issued. So that means that on midnight of the 60th day your license to get married in Florida expires. If your license expires, meaning you have not had an authorized official perform your ceremony,  you will have to go back to the courts, redo all of the paperwork and repay the license fee of $93.50 to be issued a new license.

Who can perform legal weddings in the state of Florida?

The following officials are authorized by Florida law to perform marriage ceremonies:

  • Ordained clergy      (Ordained Minister of Marriage in Jan 2015)

  • Elders in communion with a church

  • All Florida judges

  • Clerks of Court and their deputized employees     (this was formerly me)

  • Notaries Public of the State of Florida        (this is me since 2006 ♥)

*The law provides that ceremonies also may be performed among Quakers or “Friends” in the manner and form used or practiced in their societies.

 

Pre Marital course and the family law handbook

If you decide not to take a pre-marital course, you will be required to read a Family Law Handbook and sign a statement acknowledging that you have done so before applying for the license. (The Clerk’s office will provide this for you).  Pre-marital courses are not mandatory in the state of Florida but if you take one it must be a minimum of 4 hours and meet the state statute requirements and be administered by an approved provider. Access the registry of providers.

If you are getting married in Orlando or any of the surrounding cities you can get more information and  pick up your license here

You can also download the marriage application form. Then fill it out and take it with you to save a few minutes on the application process time. Arrive at the clerk’s office before 4 pm to ensure you have enough time to apply for your marriage license. Hand the application you downloaded and completed to the clerk and they will input your information onto the license. (If you forgot your form they will provide you an application) While the clerk is completing your license you will be reading and signing the Family Law Handbook.  Please make sure you write the correct information and check and re-check the license when it is handed back to you.

Make sure your information and names are correct, also make sure that box 18, 18a and 19 all have the correct date. (refer to the information about residency above). Once you receive your license you will not need to sign anything else on the license.

 

Destination Wedding Couples – marriage license by mail

If you will only be here a few days or arrive on the weekend of your ceremony, there may not be enough time to head over to the local courthouse to get your marriage license. An option you might consider- you may want to get your license ahead of time by mail. Only Lake County and Brevard county allow marriage licenses by mail. Here is one I have suggested to my couples before Wedding License Orlando Florida | Florida Marriage License by Mail

To get the cheaper rate contact them right away so you are out of the 30 day range. Because they are local I may be able to have them send me the marriage license when they are finished so it does not miss you in the mail if you are within a 30 day window of your ceremony. Please make sure you let me know ahead of time if you choose this option so I know to look out for it.

Witnesses

After the ceremony has been performed, if you have chosen to do so, there are two spots for witnesses to sign. Line 24 and 25 are the designated boxes on the form for witnesses to sign. They must have been there at the time of the ceremony and witnessed the ceremony to be considered witnesses. Florida does not require witnesses but family members or close personal friends attending may see it as an honor to sign off as your witness. There are only two spaces so choose ahead of time. You may sometimes sign a wedding registry, or get a decorative wedding certificate. These items are not legal documents and alone do not solemnize your marriage.

The Ceremony

After your official has performed the ceremony you have agreed upon, your wedding official will sign, date, stamp and fill out the information in boxes 21 through box 23c. Then the witnesses will sign in boxes 24 and 25  and you are legally married in Florida. Florida does not require witnesses so this is a personal decision. Basic ceremonies contain an opening or welcome, the consent to marry, your vows, an optional ring exchange and the declaration of marriage. More elaborate ceremony options may contain additional readings and traditions, such as unity ceremonies, songs, poetry, bible or themed verses, while some have others participating in performances, speeches and prayers.

After the Ceremony

Most officials will file the marriage license for you. Which means they send it back in the envelope the clerk’s office provides you. Once the clerk’s office receives the completed document it is then forwarded to the Office of the Comptroller to be recorded in Florida. Once the marriage license is recorded, the Comptroller’s office will send you a certified copy to keep for your records. This process usually takes about 2-3 weeks.

Changing your name

A great name change resource for all couples is MissNowMrs if you need help with the name change process. You may want to purchase more than one copy of the marriage license for things like New Bride Name Change Kit, insurance, and social security changes, so make sure you provide the wedding official with a check made out to the comptroller for the total cost of the amount of copies you want to receive. Inside the envelope you receive at the clerk’s office with your marriage license, is a page of instructions on ordering copies. You can choose to include a check with the form for your officiant to include when filing the license so you get the additional copies at the same time.

Go here for info on getting certified copies of your marriage license.

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Here is a list of Florida Clerk’s offices where you can obtain your Florida marriage license. Once all the legal stuff is done, you are free to plan your wedding day in Florida. Book your ceremony now!

Domestic Partner Affidavit

Not ready to get married yet, no problem. Many long term couples, same sex and opposite sex, have chosen the route of the Domestic Partner. You can pick this up from your local courts, it must be notarized. You can do a commitment ceremony, you do not need to have a ceremony, you are just agreeing to certain requirements that govern your togetherness. Should you break up, you have to  go back to the courts and fill out a type of dissolution of domestic partner paperwork.  Much like a regular marriage you can only be in one domestic partner relationship at a time and it should be for a long term period. There may be some fees for notarization.

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